Stored energy, vacancies and thermal stability of ultra-fine grained copper
The stored energy and thermal stability of oxygen-free high conductivity copper processed by equal channel angular pressing up to 16 passes at room temperature was studied by differential scanning calorimetry. Stored energy increased with strain up to four passes, after which it saturated at 0.95 ± 0.05 J/g. This saturation value is 20% higher than from conventional cold rolling. The microstructure of the copper after eight passes was characterized by an average subgrain size of about 0.21 μm and high-angle boundary fraction of about 35%. The contributions to the stored energy from defects were calculated and compared, suggesting that the stored energy mainly originates from boundaries and vacancies. The restoration activation energy after eight passes was between 77 and 80 kJ/mol. The higher stored energy and lower activation energy compared to cold-rolled copper is attributed to excess vacancies.